User Onboarding

Customer first. But what does that even mean?

You turn the pages on different startups over the last few decades, and one theme has found more prominence than anything else - being a customer centric business. Putting your customer first.

And if you look further back in time, this theme is as old as it gets. “The customer is always right”, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

But for all the time these phrases have spent floating around the world of business, they are as vague as they get. Everyone knows it is good for your business, but what exactly does it mean, what does it entail, and most importantly, how do you even implement it? After all, you can’t give in to each and every single expectation and demand of your customer, can you? If you did that, your product roadmap would end up having a thousand branches, each critical in its own way, and there would be no well defined path to a broader vision of the company. Let us not forget about the financial implications it can have.

So, let us pick up one thread. Customer success. Once again vague, once again helpful, and once again, one hell of a bitch to implement. In theory, you want to stay connected to each and every customer of yours, and guide them to success, but given the time and resources involved in the process, it is an extremely unscalable and impossible goal to aspire to.

So what can you - someone with a small team and limited resources - do?

First things first. The stage you are at is crucial to your planning.

Individual demos and onboarding calls

If you are just starting your business, you can, should and in many cases, must do it. After all, at this stage you aren’t overwhelmed with hundreds of thousands of customers. You are actually trying to convert your visitors to paying customers - one at a time. So you have the bandwidth.

This process, at this stage, would also help you understand the different customer types your product is most valuable for. You will get to witness firsthand what your customer’s workflow and working methodology/style looks like, and how your product enables efficiency and productivity for them. All of which are valuable insights that can improve your communication, streamline your product roadmap and make your marketing content and landing pages much more effective and impactful.

Essentially, this is the best kind of customer research exercise, because your business is getting paid for it. You are also seeing everything in action, measuring engagement along the way. So it is much more accurate as compared to conducting questions based surveys and forms.

Track user progress and behavior

Don’t fly blind.

It can be a powerful temptation to introduce more features and modules to your product to give more to your customers for the money they are spending with you. I am asking you to stop.

Work with what you have at the moment. Set up measurements. Understand how customers are navigating through your product.

What they do, when they do it, and how frequently.

That’s it. Just those three things. Don’t stretch yourself thin and try to measure everything. Your analytics here doesn’t need to be ground-breaking. In fact, the simpler you keep it, the more it will help. Set up a few success metrics in place and have a system that measures those for all users. Take a business like Buffer, for example. They help you schedule and post social media content. If I am starting a business like Buffer, I would be looking at how frequently are my users posting their content, what percentage of their posts are scheduled, which social networks are they posting it to most often, and the nature of content they are posting - text, image, url?

User Flow

This kind of an analysis would help you set up your future onboarding processes as well. In that example of a buffer like business, if I figure out that a good chunk of my customers post urls to Twitter, I can set up an email flow process to help new users do that. For example, any user that creates an account, but has not made/scheduled any post, could get an email after 48 hours of inactivity with a bunch of links they could use to push their ‘first content’.

Optional Tip: You can set up custom goals in your command center to measure and track these. If you need help setting up custom onboarding goals for your websites, we are here to help.

Demo dashboards, videos, animations, gifs

Demos work great. They help your customers visualize the product capability when they are deciding on the dollar value of the product.

Video Onboarding

But live demos, while helpful, can also be counterintuitive for a new product in a new market/usecase segment. After all, unless the customer is used to using a product like yours, how do you expect them to navigate through it the way they should (or the way you would want them to). The answer is in videos and animations you put up.

Just look at firebase. They have short videos targeting specific usecases. And these videos aren’t there just on their youtube channel, it is their on their product documentation page as well.

Firebase documentation

You can use the insights gained during personalised one-on-one demos to figure out what videos need to be made, what needs to be highlighted in those videos and how they need to be made. Now, instead of blocking your calendar for every single potential customer, you just put out a self serving content that can help them check out your product’s usefulness to them.

Keep the videos short, crisp and on point. You don’t want them to be overwhelming. Nor do you want customers to bookmark them for later. You want them to be short and concise enough to be consumed as soon as they are discovered.

Invest time in building a knowledgebase

When customers ask you a question, make a note of it. Whether these questions come up during your early 1-1 demos, or at a later stage via emails or social media. Chances are, you would see some recurring themes coming up.

Address those queries in a documentation style knowledge base. These can be simple blog articles, tutorials, or just a part of your broader product documentation.

You can launch your business without a knowledgebase (we should know, we launched that way). Because no matter whether you start with a knowledgebase or not, you would need to aggressively add to it once you have launched and start receiving customer queries.

That is all there is to that. Keep it simple.

There are countless more ways to go about this whole process, but lets start first, build up on it later. :-)

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.

Cheers Abhishek

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